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Watch 2022 online sermons » Joyce Meyer » Joyce Meyer - Forgiveness - Part 3

Joyce Meyer - Forgiveness - Part 3


Joyce Meyer - Forgiveness - Part 3
TOPICS: Forgiveness
Joyce Meyer - Forgiveness - Part 3

Well, thank you for joining me today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". I've been talking to you about the subject of forgiveness. Not just receiving forgiveness from God but giving forgiveness to other people. And talking about the fact that when we forgive someone we're not doing them a favor, we're doing ourselves a favor. We're laying the burden of hatred, and bitterness, and resentment down and saying, "I'm not gonna carry that anymore. I'm gonna give it to God and I'm gonna let God bring justice in my life".

Listen, if you've been hurt, I mean, really, really bad by somebody, or even if it's just a little offense, don't carry it around with you. Don't give the devil what he wants. Let it go, leave it, give it to God and trust him to bring a recompense or vindication in your life. God will give you a double reward for your former trouble if you'll put yourself in his hands and trust him. So, I've said a lot about the need to forgive and hopefully made the point that it's really important to do it. But today, I wanna talk to you about how to forgive, because I think there's a lot of people who want to, but they just tend to think they can't. Now, we already established that you can because anything God tells you to do, he will give you the grace, which is the power and the ability, to do it. So, it's really not a matter of, "I can't," it's like, "I refuse to".

And I understand that because it seems so unfair to forgive people. And especially, I mean, it's hard enough if somebody comes and apologizes to you and asks you to forgive them, but God even wants us to forgive people who aren't even willing to do that. After my father sexually abusing me and my mother knowing he was doing it and letting him do it, when God asked me to take care of my parents in the latter years of their life, the first thing I thought is, "Well, that can't possibly be God. He wouldn't ask me to do that. That is so unreasonably unfair". But you know what? It wasn't fair for Jesus to take my sins or yours. And yet, he did it in love. And so, I'm gonna assume that you all want to forgive but you just need to learn how.

So, the first thing you have to realize is that forgiveness is not a feeling, it's an action that begins with a decision. It's not a feeling. You can forgive somebody and still cringe on the inside every time you see them, or every time somebody says something about them, especially if they say something nice about them. Have you had that experience where somebody's hurt you really bad and then somebody else tries to tell you what a great person they are? And it's just so hard to keep your mouth shut and not say, "Well, yeah, that's what you think. You don't know what I know, or if you knew what they did to me". But God doesn't want us to do that. The first step to forgiveness is to decide. Thank God we have free will. God trusted us enough to give us the ability to choose. We're not robots. He doesn't make you forgive, he doesn't make you serve him, he doesn't make me serve him. But he does say, "I have set before you life and death, choose life that you and your descendants may live".

And so, I can tell you today that if you forgive, it will not only help you, it will help your descendants: it'll help your kids and your grandkids. And if you decide to hang on to that bitterness, you know, I have four grown kids and twelve grandchildren, and to be honest, they just all have, they're blessed. God blesses 'em. And they've all, my grandchildren have futures to look forward to, my kids have futures to look forward to, but I can tell you, if I would have raised my children with hatred and bitterness in my heart for my mom and dad, I don't think they'd have a life today that they do. Because when you hang on to that stuff, it affects everything that you do. It poisons everything that you try to do. And so, I didn't think it was fair when God asked me to do it, but I decided to be obedient to him, keeping in mind that I still didn't feel like it.

If we can ever understand, please understand this today, you don't have to feel like doing what's right in order to do it. That was such a big thing for me to learn in the earlier years in my walk with God. I don't have to feel like doing it to do it. I don't have to think it's a good idea. I don't have to want to, all I need to do is do what God told me to do because I trust him, and I believe that he's good, and that he's got my best interest in mind. So, the first thing you do is you make a decision, "God, I decided that I'm gonna forgive this person. I'm gonna be obedient to you, and I decide to let this go". The next thing you do is depend on God. Oh, for goodness sake, don't just try real hard to forgive somebody. After you decide to forgive then the very next thing that you do is say, "God, and I know that I cannot do it without you. And I depend on you. I depend on you to help me follow this decision all the way through to a place of victory". You depend on God.

The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith right after he instructed them in forgiveness. They were like, "You want us to forgive, we're gonna need a lot more faith than what we got right now". Luke 17:3-5, "So watch yourselves. 'if your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them: and if they repent, forgive them. And even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back and say, "I repent," you must forgive them'". But you know what? If you put all the scriptures in the Bible together, we don't just get to forgive people because they ask us to, it's something that God is asking us to do. It's easier if they ask you to forgive 'em, but we still need to do it either way. "And the apostles said, 'Lord, increase our faith'".

Don't get caught in the trap of thinking you're not required to forgive a person just because they haven't asked you to. My father did not ask for forgiveness until he was like, 80 years old, and he only lived three years after that. My mother never even mentioned to me what she let my dad do, until I was probably in my late 50s, and then she finally said, "I'm sorry I let your dad do what he did to you, I just couldn't face the scandal and I didn't think I could take care of you and your brother". So, she was looking more at herself and how hard it was gonna be for her rather than looking at how hard it was on me. But God still said, "Take care of them, help them, provide for them". We spent money on them. We spent time with them. You gotta pray about it regularly. "The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak". You can want to forgive somebody, you can decide to do it, but if you don't pray about it on a regular basis, depending on God to help you walk it out, you'll always keep going back to the place that you want to get away from.

Let me tell you something. It's easier to hear this message than it is to walk it out in your life. You know, maybe right now, today, you don't have anything against anybody and you're thinking, "Amen, Joyce! That's a great word for all those people that are mad at somebody". But what happens tomorrow if somebody does something really hurtful to you? Will you still be saying, "Amen"? Will you still be willing to do what the Bible tells you to do regarding this situation? Matthew 26:41, says, "So watch and pray that you may not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak". I think our emotions have a memory chip in 'em, and a long time after we decide to forgive our emotions can still have ill feelings towards someone. But I've found this to be true, and I stand behind it, if you make the decision God wants you to make your emotions will eventually turn right.

You know, I came to the point where I didn't have any ill feelings toward my mom and dad. I'm not gonna say that I loved them like I would have parents who took care of me, but I did love them. It's two people that God created and cared enough for to send his son to die for them. And I'm happy to say that my mom and dad are both in heaven now. And maybe, that wouldn't have happened either if I wouldn't have been willing to let it go. Refuse to keep going back and visiting the graveside of your past issues. If you've buried it, don't go back and dig it up. Your feelings are not the real you, they're just your feelings, and you can learn to live beyond your feelings.

Please get this. You can feel like you would just like to wring somebody's neck, and you can still actually, smile at them and say, "How are you today"? You can feel wrong and choose to do what's right. God heals you emotionally as you remain faithful to your decision to honor him by forgiving. We don't forgive people because they deserve it, we forgive them because we deserve it. We deserve to not carry that burden. You know, after all the hurt that I went through in my childhood I deserved to not have to carry that around anymore. God was willing to help me but I had to be willing to do things God's way. Are you willing to do it God's way?

Now, here's what I believe is the place where we fail the most. And after all this teaching, this is the third day of teaching on this subject of forgiving the people who hurt you. And it takes a lot of teaching, and this is teaching you need to get and listen to over, and over, and over again. And you need to get what I'm gonna offer you at the end that's gonna help you. But I know, I was talking with the Lord about this subject one time because as a minister, I would see the same people come to the altar all over, and over, and over, "Pray for me that I can forgive so and so". And I knew they were sincere, they really wanted to be able to forgive, but next time they'd come back with the same prayer. And so, I asked the Lord, "They wanna forgive, why are they having such a hard time"? And he very simply put in my heart, "They're not doing what I told 'em to in my word". "What"? "They're not doing what I told 'em to in my word".

You know what God tells us to do? Forgive, pray for, and bless your enemies. Now, there it is, in a nutshell. Are you praying for the people that have hurt you? Well, I know how you feel. I thought, "Well, I don't want 'em to be blessed". Being honest with God, "I don't want 'em to be blessed". When people have hurt us, we want 'em to suffer. We want 'em to pay for it. But that's not God's attitude toward us. But you know what? The first thing that God may bless somebody with when you pray for them is revelation on how they've behaved in their life. The greatest gift that God can give anybody, the greatest blessing God can give anybody is truth. And it's the truth about our own actions, the truth about ourselves that's gonna set us free. It's not the truth about somebody else.

So, when you pray for your enemies to be set free, the first thing God needs to do is give them some revelation about what they have in their life that's keeping them in bondage. And I'll tell you something. It is next to impossible to stay mad at somebody for very long if you're praying for them on a regular basis. The two just don't go together. And then it not only says to pray for your enemies, but it says to bless and do not curse them. Now, the word bless actually, means to speak well of, and the word curse means to speak evil of. So, guess what? And this is gonna be hard. If you're gonna forgive your enemies and you're gonna work through this process of unforgiveness, you have to stop talking bad about the people who hurt you.

Uh-oh, wonder how many times I'm gonna need to say that. You have to stop talking bad about the people that have hurt you. And sure, it's challenging when somebody's hurt you and somebody comes along and tells you what a great person they are you just think, "Oh, blah". It's all you can do to keep your mouth shut. But God says we're to try to find every good thing that we can about them and verbalize those things not the negative things, "Bless and do not curse them". Luke 6:27-28, "But to you that are listening I say: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you". Let's go back and do this again. "But to you that are listening," are you listening? "I say to you: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you", and once again, love is not a feeling. It's not an emotion. It's action. Love is how we treat people. It's not how we feel about them.

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you". Have you prayed for your enemies today? Have you prayed for the people today that have hurt you the most in life? Have you asked God to bless them? Matthew 5:44, "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you". You say, "Well, man, that's hard, Joyce. That's a hard pill to swallow". But it's what works. God has his ways of properly dealing with people but he won't do it until we stop trying to deal with them ourselves. The thing that I found in my life is that if I give it to God and do it his way then he'll always bring a reward and a recompense in my life. Now, what about, somebody's hurt you really bad and now you find out that they are in need. "Well, I'm not gonna help 'em. I'm certainly not gonna help 'em".

I remember one time when I had a very favorite coat that I mean, I really liked. You ever have something that, you know, it's one thing to give away something that you don't care that much about anyway, but when God starts asking you to give away your favorite or your best that gets a little harder. But at least if you're gonna have to give it away, you'd like to give it to somebody you like. You don't wanna give it to somebody that you don't really like anyway. And there was somebody who had hurt me really, really, really bad, and God put it in my heart, I knew, that I knew, that I knew that it was what God wanted me to do to give it to them.

And I thought, "Uh, man! I didn't wanna do that". I did not wanna do that. And I didn't like it even when I did it, but I did it in obedience to God. And you know what? Any time you do that, Romans 12:21 says, "We only overcome evil with good". We always overcome evil with good. If you read in Romans chapter 12, it tells us to not be like our enemies but to be like God, and that we overcome evil with good. What was, you know, I wasn't getting my mom and dad back by shutting them out of my life and mistreating them. And I had enough information, biblical information by then, to know it was the enemy working through them anyway.

So, how could I get him back? You can't choke the devil the death. You can't beat him up. What can you do? You can be good to everybody that you can possibly be good to. Let me tell you something, the devil hates, hates, hates generosity. He hates it when you pray for people especially if they're people that have hurt you. And he hates it when you're good to people. What he wants you to do is hate people, because he's a hater. But God wants us to be a blessing to people. Has God ever asked you to give one of your favorite of something to somebody that hurt you really bad? When you do, it just breaks the enemy's power off of your life.

I remember another situation where somebody told me, which I wish they wouldn't have, but sometimes we tell people things we shouldn't tell 'em. That they had been at lunch at a certain restaurant and there was a couple people there that we did business with, here at the ministry, and they were really talking bad about me. Well, nobody likes to hear that somebody was talking bad about them behind their back. And so, when they told me about it, my first inclination was I thought, "Well, that's it. We're not doing business with them anymore. And I'm gonna make sure they know, that I know that they were talking about me, and that I don't appreciate that, and I'm this, and I'm that". You know how we go. "I'm gonna do this, and I'm gonna do that". And I wasn't sleeping and very good that night, gee, I wonder why? And the Lord spoke to my heart, "You're not gonna do any of that".

You know, we can make all of our plans of what we're gonna do to get people back, but if you listen to God, he's gonna say, "No, you're not gonna do that". And I thought, "Well, what am I gonna do"? And the thing that came up in my heart is, "You're gonna do what you tell other people to do, you're gonna send 'em a gift and bless 'em". Well, I'll tell you what I wanted to do, I wanted to send 'em gift certificates to the restaurant where they'd been talkin' about me. I mean, I wanted to give 'em my book, "Me and my big mouth". I wanted to do anything to let them know that I knew what they had done, and how generous I was being in forgiving them.

Now, come on, I know some of you know exactly what I'm talking about. Oh, but no, I had to give 'em—i gave 'em gift certificates to go out and eat at a couple of nice restaurants, and I wrote 'em a letter and told 'em how much we appreciated them. Oh, my gosh, that was so hard on me. But I'll tell you what, I know I won a spiritual battle. There are spiritual forces that are coming against us, especially in these last days that we're living in. We don't wanna let our love grow cold. Matthew 24 says, "In the last days, the love of the great body of people will grow cold," and it also says that, "Many will be offended".

And boy, people are touchy today. It's so easy to make somebody angry today. I mean, just the way people carry on and how angry they get if you accidentally get into their lane on the highway. Where's the mercy? Where's the grace? But you know what? We can't be like everybody else. We're in the world, but we can't be like it. I can't be like that just because somebody else is like that. We need to be the example. We need to not do to others as they've done to us. We need to do to them as we would want them to do to us, and set the example for them. And so, if you really wanna forgive, you have to be willing to bless your enemies.

And you know what? You could even ask God, "What could I do for them? They really hurt me. And I'm praying for them. And I'm gonna speak good things about them. But what can I do for them"? Let's just say that you're a pastor, and you've got somebody in your church that has been working behind the scenes, and he's gathered a bunch of the people to himself and made 'em think bad things about you. Oh, yes, it happens. It happens all the time. I mean, Absalom tried to do it to king David. Well, of course, that makes you aggravated. You gave that person an opportunity to be on your staff. You raised 'em up, you trusted 'em, and now they're gonna leave the church and take a hundred of your people with 'em, and move three, four blocks away and start their own church.

Well, you shouldn't get in the pulpit and talk bad about 'em. Best thing you could do would be buy 'em a sound system and pray that they'll succeed. They won't anyway, not until they repent. But it's gonna help you, if you pray that they will. You overcome evil with good. Be as good to everybody as you possibly can be. And don't let the devil win. So, how do you forgive? You decide, you depend, you pray, and you bless, and I can promise you that if you'll do that, not just hear a message about it and think, "Boy, that was a good message". But if you'll do that, you'll see these areas in your life turn around and you'll be free from that burden of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness.
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